How Can Most People Save Any Money?

Many CONservatives and LIEbertarians love to give bullshit advice such as- “Pull yourself by your bootstraps”, “You should have saved money”, “Thrift is the door to riches” etc.

But ask yourself a simple fact-based question- Given that the median per-capita income in the USA is $ 26,363/ year, can most people save a worthwhile amount of money?

While there are regional differences in cost of living and incomes, the simple fact that half of working age people (with any source of income) barely make 500$ a week should give you pause. Ever looked at the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing, utilities, medical insurance, gas and car repairs? Even the combined income of a couple who made median wage (52,726) could barely be enough to pay for a half-decent modest house, utilities, taxes, health insurance and the costs associated with having a couple of decent used cars. Even a single serious illness, prolonged job loss or another similar unfortunate but now all too common setback would put them in a downward spiral with no exit. Did you realize that the above costs do not include things like student loan repayment, costs associated with having and raising kids, parking tickets, fines for bullshit offenses and a host of other unexpected costs.

If you believe that people making the median per-capita income or less can save a worthwhile amount of money- show me the calculations and assumptions.

Comments?

  1. November 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Biggest potential cost savings come from buying a run down house 600 sq foot house and rehabbing it doing the work yourself and installing a security system in it for a total of $15,000 to $20,000 and than getting a housemate to help split the utility bills and pay some rent. However a house like this is probably in such a bad neighborhood that you won’t be able to have a live in girlfriend or wife. God help you if you have unplanned kids and have to pay for daycare, diapers, doctor visits, and stuff like that. Most people cannot do this so they live paycheck to paycheck.

  2. Carl
    November 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    It’s very simple. The poor can no longer spend like they are middle class, they will have to live with being poor. The middle class can no longer spend like they are rich, they will have to live with being middle class. The rich can no longer spend like they are super-rich, they will have to be just rich. And the super-rich are thieving bastards who ran the country into the ground and should be dragged out into the streets and shot.

    Don’t be shocked if the poor rip your balls and shove them up your windpipe.

  3. Matt Strictland
    November 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Thats a nice fast way to poverty and unrest Carl.

    In todays world with the technological leverage firmly in the ands of the masses and all the social disconnect (no church or society for a cheap social solution) that the last thing we want. Millions of super empowered people angry whose model is I dunno the Heath Ledger Joker.

    Where so many of the advocates for austerity go wrong (aside from the issue of production surplus and lizard brain driven scarcity think that is) is in assuming that people are obliged to follow a social contract their “betters” set.

    Well no they aren’t. To borrow an old phrase “No Justice, No Peace” “Know Justice, Know Peace”

  4. November 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    diablo,

    does adding acetone to your gas tank improve fuel economy?

    If so, that could save buck….

  5. November 4, 2011 at 3:37 am

    If the point is that people who make <=$26k a year will be less able to save money than people who make more than that, correct I guess. Similarly/equivalently, the people who make incomes lower than the median will have a harder time saving out of that income than the people who make incomes higher than the median. Or put more succinctly, smaller is smaller than bigger. This always has been and will always be true.

    Not sure what if any conclusion follows from that. Okay, so earning $26k leaves little to spare. And?

    One thing to keep in mind (for example) is that the number 'salary you earned this year' is not a number stamped on your forehead that follows you around the rest of your life. I was once in graduate school on a teacher's-assistant stipend. So I would have been counted among the lower half of incomes, and brought/kept down the median. So, true, I did not save much out of that salary. But my salary is now significantly higher than what it was then.

    Similarly, there is an age pattern. $26k/year includes a lot of young people just starting out. This doesn't make it the typical scenario for a two-wage-earner family with children.

    Another point is that $26k comes after some saving is forced upon the median wage-earner by the government: social security. Your employer paying you $26k has to take 7.6% of that or whatever it is, to match your payroll tax. If they didn't, salary could be higher (and you'd have more to save). Etc. Similarly, there are government policies one could cite that affect cost of living (gas taxes for one, things like mortgage-interest tax deduction that have the effect of propping up house prices for another) which – if they didn't do – would make cost of living cheaper thus leaving more for saving at the median. And so forth.

    So like I said,it's not clear what conclusions follow…

  6. MeMyselfI
    November 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I’m not sure I get the real point to this post…

    Sure, the numbers look bad at the macro level. As can any numbers you choose to look at…

    But, this isn’t new. Scarcity is NORMAL.


    Before Industrialization!

    However, at the individual level it is YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY to spend ONLY – or LESS – than you EARN.
    —-

    What about making people like you vanish for good? Why wouldn’t somebody who has nothing to lose not choose to vaporize you rather than die slowly?

    This isn’t anyone else’s problem but your own.

    You are not entitled to the fruits of others labor (or IQ).

    You are not entitled to a 40 hour work week. You, individually, might have to work MORE… or maybe less. But you get to find the balance THAT SUITS YOU.
    —-

    You are not entitled to be safe or alive either. Neither are your kids, grand-kids etc.

    But, if you earn it, you get to spend/save it.

    If you DON’T earn it, you don’t get to spend it.

    Stop making this everyone else’s problem.

    It is a problem for the individual.

    Making it into a problem for the collective is only going to give the SOCIOPATHS an opportunity to take more POWER. Just stop.
    —-

    If that means people like you will end up in gulags first, I don’t see the problem.

    • MeMyselfI
      November 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Why would you assume I wouldn’t defend myself?

      I make no claim to being entitled to being safe – why you infer it I dunno… set it up to knock it down, I suppose.

      Numbers and widespread technology negate any advantage you have.

      And, you make my point nicely:

      You threaten violence because you’ve turned your life and your choices into someone else’s problem. And then you think you’re entitled to be violent when that doesn’t work out.

      Well, you can try, of course.

      By choosing this path you are only helping the true sociopaths gain more power.

      And, on top of it all, the path you’ve advocated will NOT solve the problem… it will only make it worse.

      The sociopaths won’t share the scarce resources, either.

      And, as far as scarcity being a result of the industrial revolution? How do you figure? Even before the age of agriculture the food just didn’t jump on the fire. The berries didn’t pick themselves. The mud hut didn’t form next to the creek spontaneously. YOU HAD TO WORK… as little or as much as you LIKED.

      There is NOTHING new under the sun. Including man’s desire to take what isn’t theirs. Doing it as a collective isn’t any better than doing it individually. The “problem” cannot be fixed. But, the correct way to look at it is to realize that there really isn’t a problem. It just the way things are.


      You are assuming that the people who will vaporize you and your progeny want your stuff. Maybe they just want to take you out with them.

      • MeMyselfI
        November 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

        “You are assuming that the people who will vaporize you and your progeny want your stuff. Maybe they just want to take you out with them.”

        You assume that this is what I fear.

        The fate worse than death is giving ever more power to the sociopaths.

        I can die in a car wreck on the way to work. I can die in a food riot next week. I can die in nuclear war next month. These things do not bother me. They are beyond my control. They will happen… or, they won’t.

        Living with the sociopaths… them thinking they can wish away scarcity – for example – that is the sort of thing to be “feared”… or, at least delt with as best as possible. Fear is too strong a word, however. The sociopaths who think they know better… that they know what’s best for everyone else. That the collective can be optimized. This is the “knowledge of good and evil”. It will always fail. It is ALWAYS wrong. This is the problem to be solved.

    • PT Barnum
      November 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      But, if you earn it, you get to spend/save it.

      If you DON’T earn it, you don’t get to spend it.

      So the world is now perfectly fair. My god that is so completely loony toon.

      I think the poor people are quite aware of how little you value fairness in anything.

  7. November 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    “If that means people like you will end up in gulags first, I don’t see the problem.”

    Holy shit-is stalin your hero you commie rat?

    Keep on dreaming of brevik while you are spending half your paycheck on prostitutes to “feel like a man.”

    No that ain’t shaming language-I’ve got my vices too, and infact may be dirtier than you diablo.

    At first, i thought you just got a hard on shocking people. Then I thought you were a hedonist that was resisting control. Then I thought you were sadistic. Now I see that you have the same sense of entitlement as a stinking feminist.

    Anyways, glad I won’t meet you in real life, but if I do, I doubt you can overpower me. You might be smarter than me but I’ve spent more time in the sewers.

    • PT Barnum
      November 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      And you are a loudmouth who can’t remove your masters cock from your mouth.

      • November 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm

        hahahaha,

        you probably consider yourself the “master”

        Bite-that hurt didn’t it….

  8. November 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    oh, barnumb and diablo–both of you are probably much “higher status” than I-who’s more “invested” in the system? Who’s the one with PUA links on their blogroll? Who’s the one who drives a beemer?

    “Homey don’t play that game….”

    Loud and Proud!

    8===D

    • PT Barnum
      November 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Your a southern white slave.

      Yeah, we got it.

      I hate you to, buddy.

      • November 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

        I’m mixed, so you can hate me more than you already do dickless blunder….

  9. uh
    November 5, 2011 at 2:35 am

    The problem with scarcity is not scarcity itself — it is the illusion of plenty with which it is forced to coexist in consumer society, seducing the poor to buy as though they are not poor, and live in daydreams of saving and success that cannot be realized.

    Scarcity in Afghanistan is not scarcity in America. An Afghan family is relatively content with flat bread, yogurt, and chicken pilaf on Fridays, and produces three to five children to compensate for higher infant mortality and poorer general health. An American family is not content with basic foods and an old TV with rabbit ears, and will spend its meager surpluses on worthless technology, automobiles, tattoos, drink, etc., existing in a plenum of debt.

    My ears close when I hear people blaming the masses for being improvident. “The poor are the poor; one is sorry for them, but there it is.” American mythology holds that anyone can improve their lot, etc.; and it is wrong, a comforting illusion promoted by marginal success stories and the lies of “progress”.

    • PT Barnum
      November 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Neighbor, if you treated a “poor” Afghan the way you treat a poor person in America…

      you would be dead.

      So, you know, the situations aren’t really the same. America tried to pull it’s “cop” “Sir” crap in Afghanistan, and they didn’t really like lit.

  10. November 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

    http://hereticsway.gluontheferengi.com/2011/11/01/why-unrest-will-continue-to-grow-in-industrialized-nations/

    (I think this is the guy diablo steals his ideas from….)

    There is considerable similarity between our world views.

  11. November 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    That’s not the only article of mine that parallels this one quite closely.

    However, Mr. Screwtape’s ideas seem original and our overlap is not to a degree that arouses immediate suspicion.

    He will write about a topic similar to something I wrote a year ago, and every once in awhile I discover one of my newer posts parallels one of his older ones.

    If anything, we ‘plagiarize’ each other.

    And if he is engaging in some subtle conspiracy against me :P, power to him.
    If ideas I like are spread, I care little how it is done.

    My take: we’re different people who took the same variables and arrived at many of the same conclusions.
    If something makes sense, this is the way it should be.

    • November 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      hahaha, you call him Mr. Screwtape…..

      The “priapic pothead”….

  12. P Ray
    March 17, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    If you believe that people making the median per-capita income or less can save a worthwhile amount of money- show me the calculations and assumptions.
    Just to prove dissention’s point:

    by heretic667 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:58 am
    The North American system is designed to keep the general population in poverty and without anything more than a penny to your name. Your jewish slave drivers want you to stay in an endless cycle of debt and desperation because it gives them control over your life.

    Just lol at ever moving out of your parents house unless you make at least $25/hr full time, bare bare minimum.

    $20/hr is 40k/yr aka 31k after the taxman gets his slab

    So that equates to 2600 monthly.

    Rent for an apartment near your office cuck job is like 1k minimum in large cities (at least where I live), roughly on average 1,500 when we include utilities, but we’ll settle on 1,300/month just to be conservative.

    Car insurance is like 250-300/month in my age bracket, and that’s with a squeaky clean driving record.

    Gas is $60/week = ~200-250 per month. But don’t forget tire rotations, car payments, car depreciation, maintenance, repairs, emergence auto service and oil changes. So when we include those and average it out, we can probably bump the monthly cost up to.. let’s say $300. This actually has the potential to be a lot more depending on how much your car payments are and how much monthly depreciation your car is getting raped by.

    Groceries/food are well over $100 per week, probably something like $130-150 since your cuck job is going to stress you out, force you to eat out more and pound back cappuccinos because of increased cortisol and a lack of time/energy to make adequate meals for every single day of the week. Let’s settle on 500/month here

    Gym memberships can be anywhere from 20-100 dollars a month. Since you live in an overcrowded city full of workcels to bleed every scheckel from, it’s probably going to be like $50/month at the minimum.

    Phone bill.. again we’ll say $50/month

    Clothes.. Well you’ll have to buy a couple new pairs of shoes/boots, gloves, pants, belts and socks and whatever the fuck throughout the year as the wear and tear gets to them. We’ll add $70/month there.

    Personal care – deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shaving stuff. Another 25/month or so

    So we’re already basically down to a mere $50/month in disposable income. THAT IS $12 PER WEEK THAT YOU CAN SPEND ON STUFF YOU ACTUALLY WANT.

    Now just think about that shit for a second. What the hell is that really going to get you? If you wanted a new laptop, you would have to spend literally no money on anything that isn’t a bare necessity for 10 fucking months

    And imagine adding even one thing such as school-related fees, child support/childcare, healthcare, alimony, dating costs and looksmaxing costs into the mix? (tanning, clothes, supplements, roids, tattoos) Just kek.
    Last edited by heretic667 on Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

  13. P Ray
    August 25, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    And now for the people in the UK:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3759081/Why-families-earning-50-000-broke-end-month-figures-say-couldn-t-pay-unexpected-bill-500-four-explain-money-goes.html
    We can’t live on £50,000: Middle-class families with an enviable household income explain why they are BROKE and are forced to borrow from family, buy supermarket clothes and holiday in the UK
    By JILL FOSTER and SADIE NICHOLAS and HELEN CARROLL FOR THE DAILY MAIL
    PUBLISHED: 22:24 GMT, 25 August 2016 | UPDATED: 07:21 GMT, 26 August 2016
    They have nice homes, cars and Sky TV. And with an enviable household income of more than £50,000 a year — the average UK salary is £26,500 — why not? But according to a survey, a third of middle-class families would not be able to pay an unexpected bill of £500, while 31 per cent said they’d be left in debt. So where does the money go? Here, four families explain why they’re so broke at the end of every month. . .

    It also seems to me that a lot of young people are bullshitting about how much money they make and how much stuff they own … a lot of things can be rented for the day and you can pose with them to show off as if you actually own them.

  14. P Ray
    May 1, 2017 at 3:41 am

    And another data point verifying what dissention has said:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/economic-inequality/524610/
    Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong
    The MIT economist Peter Temin argues that economic inequality results in two distinct classes. And only one of them has any power.

    GILLIAN B. WHITE APR 27, 2017
    A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?

    That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims.

    Temin identifies two types of workers in what he calls “the dual economy.” The first are skilled, tech-savvy workers and managers with college degrees and high salaries who are concentrated heavily in fields such as finance, technology, and electronics—hence his labeling it the “FTE sector.” They make up about 20 percent of the roughly 320 million people who live in America. The other group is the low-skilled workers, which he simply calls the “low-wage sector.”

    Temin then divides workers into groups that can trace their family line in the U.S. back to before 1970 (when productivity growth began to outpace wage growth) and groups that immigrated later, and notes that race plays a pretty big role in how both groups fare in the American economy. “In the group that has been here longer, white Americans dominate both the FTE sector and the low-wage sector, while African Americans are located almost entirely in the low-wage sector,” he writes. “In the group of recent immigrants, Asians predominantly entered the FTE sector, while Latino immigrants joined African Americans in the low-wage sector.”

    After divvying up workers like this (and perhaps he does so with too broad of strokes), Temin explains why there are such stark divisions between them. He focuses on how the construction of class and race, and racial prejudice, have created a system that keeps members of the lower classes precisely where they are. He writes that the upper class of FTE workers, who make up just one-fifth of the population, has strategically pushed for policies—such as relatively low minimum wages and business-friendly deregulation—to bolster the economic success of some groups and not others, largely along racial lines. “The choices made in the United States include keeping the low-wage sector quiet by mass incarceration, housing segregation and disenfranchisement,” Temin writes.

    And how is one to move up from the lower group to the higher one? Education is key, Temin writes, but notes that this means plotting, starting in early childhood, a successful path to, and through, college. That’s a 16-year (or longer) plan that, as Temin compellingly observes, can be easily upended. For minorities especially, this means contending with the racially fraught trends Temin identifies earlier in his book, such as mass incarceration and institutional disinvestment in students, for example. Many cities, which house a disproportionate portion of the black (and increasingly, Latino) population, lack adequate funding for schools. And decrepit infrastructure and lackluster public transit can make it difficult for residents to get out of their communities to places with better educational or work opportunities. Temin argues that these impediments exist by design.

    Despite the bleak portrait that he paints, he doesn’t believe that the U.S. necessarily has to be like this. He offers five proposals that he says might help the country return to more equal footing. Some are fairly clear levers that many before him have recommending pulling: expanding access to and improving public education (particularly early education), repairing infrastructure, investing less in programs like prisons that oppress poor minorities, and increasing funding for those that can help build social capital and increase economic mobility. But other suggestions of his are more ambitious and involve fundamentally changing the cultural beliefs that have been reinforced over generations. Temin advocates doing away with the belief that private agencies can act in the interest of all citizens in the way that public entities can, and should. His final recommendation is to address systemic racism by reviving the spirit of the Second Reconstruction of the 1960s and 1970s, when civil-rights legislation helped to desegregate schools and give black Americans more political and economic power.

    Temin notes that not all of these things need to be accomplished in order for America to reverse the increasingly divided path it’s on. But at the moment, implementing even one of these recommendations would prove a tall order.

    Looking forward to hear people try and justify things, ignoring the reality that the land of the free and home of the brave … has turned into the land of the sheep and home of the slave!

  15. P Ray
    July 9, 2017 at 5:36 am

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/in-search-of-the-elusive-american-dream-20170707-gx6kdt.html

    “Stagnant median wages, limited upward mobility, social dysfunction and political alienation are a toxic mix indeed.” – Ben Bernanke

    Indeed, in 2015, more Americans died of drug overdoses than died from car accidents and firearms-related accidents and crimes combined.

    Looks like people need drugs to cope with their wonderful good fortune of living in an economic powerhouse with a bright future ahead of them.

    • July 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Yep.

      Self-anesthetizing always been humanity’s recourse to ease its pain –whether physical, emotional, psychological, relational, social, economic — whenever the painrelievers have been available. Whether alcohol, opiates, benzos, cannabis, or whatever else, history is clear that people will use them, and use them moreso, when their pain increases.

      Pain may not be justification for questionable or harmful behavior, but, directly or indirectly, it’s usually the explanation for it.

      • P Ray
        July 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        The other thing is also that people take drugs to socialise with others and make the big bucks.
        Think “initiation rituals”.
        Of course, when things don’t pan out, they’ve given themselves an addiction
        AND
        the drug dealer has a new customer!

        To put a spin on it, I’ve very sure many high-risk, near-criminal ventures … have a “filtering” stage where the boss (who may not even have taken the drugs), wants to know if “you have what it takes” so demands that you take some drugs to “fit in”.

        You can’t have a successful enduring criminal enterprise, unless the people in it are properly trained criminals …

      • July 12, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        Good point, about the socializing and initiating aspects.

        “the drug dealer has a new customer!” LOL — who says there ain’t job security left in the US!

  16. P Ray
    September 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    In the comments to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/03/upshot/to-understand-rising-inequality-consider-the-janitors-at-two-top-companies-then-and-now.html

    Sheri Delvin Sonora California 12 hours ago
    The one thing that I see is missing here is any kind of corporate responsibility to the social good of our communities. It is not being “paternalistic” to offer a living wage and benefits to workers claiming it’s to expensive for the company. Apple is greedy. Who, for God’s sake can live in Cupertino on $16.60 an hour? We make $100,000 a year and we can’t live in Cupertino or anywhere in Silicon Valley.

    Apple, like the majority of American corporations, does not value human work – it values its brand. Anyone who directly serves the god of Apple brand is paid a living wage and more. Otherwise they are dispensable and invisible. Apple DOES NOT CARE if people who work daily in their buildings and offices can go to the doctor, buy a decent home, of even rent a home, or provide for their families. Apple cares about the brand. If the US is worried about inequality this is where it starts and stops – lack of corporate responsibility to the community. It is not okay for a worker in 2017 to make the same wage as a worker in 1980. It’s a shame and should be considered a crime. Out sourcing certain jobs is simply a way to cheat workers. The company that provides the workers gets a big pay check, the workers get minimum wage and no opportunity. Apple doesn’t have to be responsible or care.

    Reply 46Recommend

    Well, looks like people keep being fooled – it’s the managers that make the big money now, in the majority of cases

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